JEWISH STUDIES/HISTORY

REMEMBERING JEWISH AMSTERDAM

Philo Bregstein and Salvador Bloemgarten
translated by Wanda Boeke

Before World War II, Amsterdam was a haven of peaceful relations between Jews and Gentiles and the city was remarkable for its spirit of cooperation. Remembering Jewish Amsterdam is a celebration of the relationship that Amsterdam and its Jewish population enjoyed during that time.

Remembering Jewish Amsterdam consists of fragments of 77 interviews with Holocaust survivors who talk about their life in Amsterdam before the war. The authors use this rich material to compose a collective mosaic of memories that provide a fascinating view of Jewish life in Amsterdam during the years between 1900 and 1940. By dividing the material into chapters dealing with such topics as professions, religion, housing conditions, emancipation, Jews and Gentiles, and immigration, it becomes clear how many opinions on these subjects existed within the community.

In his introduction, Bloemgarten describes the history of Jewish community in Amsterdam from the 17th century until the German occupation in 1940 and shows that for centuries it was one of the most important in Western Europe. While the Holocaust, which claimed the lives of three quarters of the Amsterdam Jews, casts a shadow over the memories of the interviewees, these testimonies re-create the spirit of time and place and present a vivid picture of a little known past erased by war.


Philo Bregstein's prolific career includes the publication of three novels, one play, several essays and works of nonfiction, and almost a dozen films, several of which have been distributed in the United States.

Salvador Bloemgarten is the author of several articles about the Jewish working class for Dutch publications. Hew is presently a member of the editorial board that is compliling a biographical encyclopedia of Dutch Jews in the twentieth century.



Spring 2003 256 pp (est) photographs, glossary
ISBN 0-8419-1425-7 (cloth) $30.00 (est)

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